Houston and Simplicity

Houston is this cohort’s Wisconsin: swapping circuits (and now divisions too). Changing this instills junior/non-junior parity, obviously, and forms six divisions without any big or small. But this also disrupts parity, as (barring lots of off days), a circuit can’t pit all its squads up against similar squads.

This Astros gang has many distinguishing marks; a circuit jump, a low payroll, and swinging and missing. A lot. So much that it almost got no-hit (and no-walk, no-thing at all, and so on) by Yu Darvish to start out this campaign. But a hit with an out to go would stop that goal.

So thinking about that, I thought, any string of at-bats is a rarity. Looking at pitch counts, balls and fouls, hits and outs, you will probably not watch many pairs of twin innings. Any play is particular, not always part of a broad class.

But so what? Just saying “a run, two hits, strand two” is jumping to conclusions. Simplicity of a notion–“wow, no hits at all!”–is what allows us to pin down cool honors. “This guy got a hit and this guy did and four in a row struck out and, following that…” is still an unusual thing, for most days will not show that particular of at-bats. But “cool occasion to honor and brag about” is not just “unusual.”

Might this play into stats? To bat in a run is a straightforward thing to do–obtain hit, push run in. Accomplish mission. So you can tally up RBI and say “look, this guy had this many,” and fans will nod and say “uh-huh, cool.” OBP should look similar. “How many occasions did you try to bat? How many saw you find your way to first? Now do a fraction.” So straightforward! I would say this is not as much a complication as BA: “what, hits slash at-bats? What’s an at-bat? You can’t count walks? Why? This is so arbitrary.” I would think a fan who’s not so much up with SABR’s doings could quickly go “Okay, OBP has a lot of simplicity going for it…I know what this is. I might not know what’s a good, bad, or outstanding mark, but I can grasp it.”

But what about WAR and VORP? This is hard. It’s so hard to pin down, that major blogs did not work from a common calculation to find such a statistic. How surprising is it, that not many fans catch on to this?

Simplicity is not a trivial notion.

Bookworm’s Soliloquy

So, @ranjit programs his glorious robot to cull spam floods. How, you ask? In lipogram fashion, with inspiration from…um…yours truly.

This is such a glorious honor that, obviously, I must post lots of lipograms, such as right now. Starting with a bit of angsty writing.

I am still trying to know who I am,
to find out without guilt,
how what is not can touch what is.
Not just distracting it,
pulling us away from work and from duty
only to drop us off following a short duration of play
without changing how our minds focus.
And not distorting it past what it is,
I am not so cool and hip as to
latch on to any passing fad,
throw away faith and truth for casual doubt.
No, it is how I can look into a book
and latch on, and find it latching back
so that I am caught up in it all,
having to find out what occurs
(though nothing occurs)
and caring, caring too much than I think I should,
frustration, mourning, loss,
an itch to craft my own finish,
a fool’s laugh–
what audacity that I’d know so much!
That I could find what I want–
but who can know what I’d want, but I?
And a crushing guilt,
an iron, unforgiving sound intoning
“bad you, bad you for caring
and not caring about a world full of pain.”
So I pull into my soul, out from this too-full world,
afraid to talk to anybody
(anybody would laugh at this stupid prioritization, I am paranoid),
trying not to cry.

Snowy Songs

This was a long post. I might talk about similar topics soon. Possibly not. Who knows.


I fight through paranoia. It is not an abrupt rush of panic that looms and stops, but I am still afraid.

I try to follow an obvious standard. I try to do to my cohort of humans what I would want that cohort to do in my position. To do this is to think of my wants as normal things. I’m normal, right? Just as I would not want a punch or kick or slap from you, so too will I not punch or kick or slap you. Just as I want food and clothing for survival, so too should I do donations, so that all might own food and clothing.

Just as I am fond of my thoughts, not wanting you to jump in my way and say “NO, YOUR THOUGHT IS WRONG, STOP THINKING THINGS THAT YOU THINK, YOU MORONIC IDIOT,” so too will I not jump in anybody’s way saying “SHUT UP AND STOP YOUR WRONG THOUGHTS.”

Now, no pair of individuals is isomorphic; my goals will not match up with yours in all ways. I might want a maroon hat and you might want a gold scarf; that is okay, isn’t it?

What if it wasn’t? If a bit of individuality is common, I cannot say that what I want is what all would want. So how should I know what to do? I am not psychic. I cannot look into anybody’s mind to find out.

If I try to say “no, I am not just a copy of all of you, I am built funnily, I don’t think in normal ways,” you will laugh and say “shut up, you just want to look cool, you cannot axiomatically show that you think distinctly, all you liars just want to act dumb and not worry about anything.” I cannot say “but I am not a liar, look;” too many liars cry wolf, and my truth is spit upon.

And if I say “okay, you all think how I do, and I think how you do, hooray,” that sounds all right. For a bit. So I start humming a song…a Christmas carol, why not. And you say “Christmas! Hooray! Sing us a song about snow and cold days.”

I say “okay, it’s almost January. Good plan. I will sing about cold days in January. And in July, I will sing about a mosquito and hot sunlight.”

You say “No, not hot sunlight in July. Just cold snow in and around January. Christmas.”

I say “I am glad your liturgical savvy knows that Christmas lasts until January fifth, okay, but no songs for various months? Just snow?”

You say “okay, skip that, sing a song about falling in lust and kissing Santa or wanting a ring or last Christmas you took my vital organs and stuff.”

I say “but I didn’t fall in lust or do any of that, and what has that got to do with Christmas?”

You say “nothing but who isn’t a fan of kissing?”

I say “kids?”

You say “kids don’t count, kids will stop kidding around and throw away childish convictions and just want to kiss stuff.”

I say “I didn’t.”

You say “I thought you said you didn’t want to stand out, you would shut up now as standing out is bad. So shut up and lust for Santa.”

I say “This is so dumb. Okay. I will sing an actual hymn about Christ.”

You say “Stop talking now, okay?”

I say “I am not standing out. Christianity is a common thing. So I will sing carols. How about a Latin chant? Or a translation of a song from Spain? Four-part harmony is always good.”

You say “Christianity is so common a thing that lots of Christians obtain political control and do bad things.”

I say “It is a fact! Sin is a common thing!”

You say “You look smart, and your political inclination is on many affairs similar to ours!”

I say “On many topics, that’s right! Which is why I cast my ballot for your politicians! Look, I’m so old I cast ballots, I am not just a kid.”

You say “Not a kid? Huh? So why your faith and your conviction? Grow up and look cool!”

I say nothing.

I say nothing so I can sit by you and pick up on your story, your humor, your wit, your smart thoughts.

But I am not cool.

Nor am I normal.

I am just too afraid to talk.

ChiSox Win

Words count; or pairs of words at an instant, or words that you link with a dash until nobody can know just how many sit in a row.

With insults or put-downs, words push along in a train. Today you can say “Bob is an (a).” Tomorrow, “a” is out, it’s too hurtful. But to talk about a guy such as Bob, you call him a “(b)”. Until, with a not okay, taunting kids say, “oh, Bob is a b” with a wink. And so adults stop using “b” in a non-insulting way. Bob is, from now on, a c. And so on.

But for us with faith in a jinx, no such supplanting occurs. No, our substitutions occur through broad words. And now, in short spurts of words, information skips along quickly, without slowing down to watch grammar. On any random day, I could go “sox struggling to hit, chisox anyway, bosox with lots of runs but yanks catching up. that’s your junior circuit. also cubs won which was good. all-star ballot box is a thing right now and wait what. it’s april.” That’s stuff, that small a thing; it’s too long to fit as a twitting thought, anyway. It’s off of a cuff, on a fly, I wouldn’t stop to put in many dots or commas or capitals.

But now watch this, a bit of focusing: “sox Struggling to hit.” Just through typing, my nod is in my words, saying “look at this.” As data go flying, this is a saying with a saying: “watch this, now.” Possibly, if I do not do much talking to start with, anything I say is a sign.

Or not. But still, I pass my words along.

(Stick around for a follow-up post that talks about what I’m doing with this forthcoming string of posts.)

That Trojan War guy

It will not profit an old languid king
By this still ash, among bland arid crags
Stuck with an cranky woman, just to script
Unjust laws for a group of louts and fools
That hoard, and nap, and drink, and know not him.

I cannot stop voyaging. I will drink
All drops of this world. I had lots of fun
And had a lot of pain, both on my own
And with my good companions. On land and
As rainy stars through scuddding drifts would haunt
A dim bay. Now I am a titular
Man, always roaming with a hungry mind.
I saw and know a lot; towns and harbors
And customs, tropics, councils, and monarchs.
And I was not last among this grand crowd.
I drunk in giddy joy of war with troops
Far on a ringing plain of windy Troy.
I am a part of all I run across.
But all I do is just an arch, through which
To squint at that unfound world. Its margin
Will blur always and always as I walk.
How dull it is to halt, to call a stop,
To rust in a scabbard and not to glow!
As though surviving was living. Just hours
Is all too small, and not a lot is still
Around, but any hour I clutch
From that still that will not stop. It’s a thing
That can bring many things with it. How wrong
Just for four suns to sit and hoard my mind
And this gray spirit craving a long trip
To follow truth as if a sinking star
Until an utmost bound of human thought.

This my son, my own only offspring
For whom I put down this crown and island,
I’m a fan of him, who’ll try to fulfill
This labor, by slow toil to turn mild
A brutal folk, and through soft urgings to
Instil productivity, show what’s good.
Without any guilt, working in a job
Of common duty, kind, happy, won’t fail
In pansy hugging work or stuff, and pay
Fair adoration to our local gods
Ruling on his own. His work works for him.

That is my port; my boat puffs out its sail
A dark broad bay now glooms. My sailors, you
Souls that would toil, and wrought, and thought as I,
That always with a joyful frolic took
Storms and fair days, in opposition to
Brows, scalps and minds–you know I’m also old.
Saturn still has his honor and his toil
And all will pass away, but not right now.
A work of nobility can occur
Fitting of warriors that could fight Gods.
And now lights will start shining down from rocks.
A long day rolls on. A slow lunar climb
Occurs, and many sounds moan round us. Hark,
‘Tis not too hard to look for a far world.
Push off, and sitting all in a row, lash
At sounding furrows, for it is my goal
To sail past that horizon, and all baths
Of all far-off stars, until I cannot.
Possibly distant gulfs will wash us down.
Possibly our boat shall find islands fair
And run across grand champions of Troy.
Though much is fading, much will last, and though,
I am not now as strong as, in old days
I was to push on land and sky, that which
I am, I am. A mix of all of you
Not as strong as in past, but strong in will
To fight, to look, to find, and not to quit.


Out of night that will still surround,
Black as a pit, no start, no goal,
I thank what gods may watch unfound
For my rigid, unflinching soul.

In a tight clutch of random luck
I do not turn nor cry aloud.
Through assault, still I will not duck
I am bloody, but I stand proud.

This wrath cannot but push down ways
In which horror looms. But I’m staid
And so risks of oncoming days
Find, and shall find, I’m unafraid.

Of no import if a gap’s strait,
How full of judging doom a scroll,
How tall my climb, how long my wait,
For I am captain of my soul.

NLCS Jottings

How tall must you stand, how far
From this world
Until, as a cloud,
Nobody knows what your shadow is?

Wisconsin. Wisconsin! Unsaid,
Too casual to show up in discussion
(or is it just a constraint pointing my way?)
Wisconsin, divisional champions. Missouri, wild cards,
Though I too can pull away
St. Louis from Kansas City.
An arbitrary imposition–
nobody would claim arbitration
Is arbitrary, if not
Judging from far away
And much that is not just discussions of salary.

Judging in words, if words that sound halfway
Grammatical, can sound broad.
Lash out at a sign,
A stand-in for many similar or
Dissimilar things.
A proxy, a symbol,
A goat.
Or throw off grammar, form, constraint,
Writing for your bright cohorts
Who know with a wink what you want to
(Though you wouldn’t, you know, not in just that way)

A young man…not so young, not as young
As all who mock. And not as old
As all who stand tall and jab softly.

What can you watch on TV? An at-bat.
A pitch thrown towards a man in a mask.
A batsman, bat in hands, not facing you, not facing
A backstop. So in a right look
At southpaws anyway.
Or a hit ball–a shortstop grabs, runs, throws,
A tiny blur in uniform runs backwards
Towards a far wall, puts his hand up, and?

Or it can zoom in, not at action, not at anything,
Just a thing to look at,
A moundsman, light, bill down,
Not looking at you
But how far from far!

Or cut away
To Tony La Russa.
I am not good with knowing
Who is who, who looks how
But now I think I know
Tony La Russa’s staring stand.
I think.